Bringing in the Sheaves
by Donna Vorreyer

You chase me through a cornfield
and we surface in a clearing, all
that we know and do not know
shimmering between us, invisible
door with no knob or hinges, no
way to open or close.  You can only
stare at the horizon.  Hidden in

the stalks, crickets sing.  I rub
my thighs together in bold
commiseration.  A thousand ears
listen for answers that do not come.
I do not know what you want.  I do
not know what I want.  I begin to
tear at tassels, braid the pulled silk

into a gown the color of your hair.
You shrug, turn and motion for me
to follow you back.  I cannot find
my way through that door, so I run
in the other direction, gown streaming
above my head like a banner.  All that’s
left is my rustle, the black confetti of
crickets littering the sky in my wake.

by Donna Vorreyer

A yellow bird swoops low, lands
against the white bark of a birch—
little sunspot, little lemon zest—
feathers puffed up and quivering.

I watch through a window, rumpled
laundry at my feet, the house in ruins—
smell of food gone bad, smell of sweat—
the cool pure sky, a memory.

Pansies poke purple tongues from
terracotta pots on the balcony.  Only
rain has kept them alive.  Dearest one,
nothing can entice me to leave this room,

not the birds or the flowers, not even
your fondest benedictions.  My thoughts
knock over mountains to find their way
back to me.  It is slow going, too slow,

and I fear that they will never return.
My clothes are dusty, my boots full
of holes and rattlesnakes.  When you
open this envelope, it will be empty.



Donna Vorreyer’s writing has appeared in numerous print and
online journals, most recently in
Rhino, Linebreak, Extract(s),
Cider Press Review, Sweet, and Rufous City Review.  She is the
author of three chapbooks, and she spends her days teaching
middle school.  Her website is located at

On “Bringing in the Sheaves” and “Mailing a Snowflake”:
 “Mailing a Snowflake” is a phrase taken from the
correspondence of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.  I was
drawn to reading all of their letters one summer, and this
phrase made me think about the inability of language to
convey what we feel.  In these days of email and social networks,
the act of mailing a letter is also a vanishing art.  I wanted this
poem to convey a sense of helplessness, or, as Jack Gilbert says,
“How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and
frightening that it does not quite.”
 “Bringing in the Sheaves” started as an exercise.  A friend
pushed me to write a new poem when I was feeling down after
several rejections, and I pulled the word “door” from a random
word list that I keep in my journal.  I had been working on a
series of poems using rural/harvest imagery, and this particular
poem began with the idea that all that is unknown could be an
invisible door.  Setting that door in a cornfield helped to add to
the confusion that is inherent in any situation where the direction
or outcome is unknown or at risk.

Previous page   Apple Valley Review, Fall 2012   Next page
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 7, Number 2
(Fall 2012)

Copyright © 2012
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
Mailing a Snowflake